BY JEN VAUGHN – Fun photos from San Diego Comic-Con! I’m no ‘virgin’ to cons but this was my first time at the BIG SHOW and working at a publisher (Fantagraphics) instead being a freelance cartoonist. Still, I managed to sneak in some photos during my bathroom breaks. More fun below:

Lines, we all stand in them at some point. My favorite was waiting for Zack Giallongo‘s book, Broxo, not officially out yet but I won a copy. Zack and I met back at MeCAF 2009 when he whispered, “Hey, kid, wanna see some thumbnails.” Fast friends ever since and it feels good to see the fruit of his many years of work in comic form.

Top Shelf’s Nate Powell and director of marketing, Leigh Walton, ogle IDW’s Groo by Sergio Aragones. This heavy-ass book is being shipped back to me, I couldn’t carry it home on the plane!

Took a break from the Fantagraphics booth to volunteer at the Cartoon Art Museum’s Sketch-a-thon with Zack Giallongo (again!) and Kraig Rasmussen. If you’re in the Berkeley area, check it out! Andrew Farago and the rest of the museum is dedicated to cartoons and comics as a craft and art.


Of course, I started off right with Nickelodeon’s most bad-ass female character (aside from Korra): Toph from Avatar: the Last Airbender. Just earthbendin’ a little chair with a cup holder. And yes, I’m enjoying the HELL out of Dark Horse’s runs of Avatar comics called Lost Adventures and The Promise.

Oh that being said, I found one of the BEST cosplay costumes of Korra and best cosplay costumes out there. Korra is tough, loveable and protective. And she rides a giant Labrador retriever/polar bear hybrid!

Friend and partner-in-crime, Jacq Cohen, found HER favorite cosplay, William Riker from Star Trek: NG.

And while you could barely gaze upon the floor without seeing a Doctor Who, the more prevalent Who-ian costumes were ladies walking around as cute (not sexy, there is a difference) version of the Dalek and the Tardis. I applaud their use of anything to make the costume – is that a tennis ball?!

The only cosplay I participated in was saluting Young Romance (edited by animation superstar Michel Gagné and published by Fantagraphics) with my “Sick of Men” leggings featuring a comic from Young Romance #65, published in the early 50s. Read the story here.

Aaaand cartoonist critic, Douglas Wolk, forced me to try on those ‘brain wave’ reading ears. It was more like reading my eyebrow muscles but still an interesting focus on how much people facially emote.

To most cartoonists’ dismay, San Diego isn’t all comics and cosplay but I did run into some cool things. Such as the MakerBot station where the Thing-O-Matics (3-D printers) were warming up to make small plastic replicas of Batman and Yoda. This heart could be twisted (Young Romance-style!) and rent any many directions, the pieces practically pulsing and turning like clockwork.

Over in one of the several My Little Pony areas was Chanel James’ ‘Tinker’ the winner of a design competition. Me and 8,000 children wonder if she’ll show up in an episode, possible in some inventor capacity.

We can’t forget that mermaid sculpture with butt cleavage, can we?

Back to comics! The booths were large and full of bookcases, fancy CCI-purchased padding but most importantly delicious comics. Oni Press has seen a big shuffle in their workforce recently and George Rohac is now the Operations Director and still a hoot to be around. We must have seen him handsell 10 copies of Scott Pilgrim: Evil Edition to people who had only seen the movie.

First Second may not have had giant banners suspended above their booth but every book is slam-dunk, home-run and so beautiful to hold in your hand. Publisher Mark Siegel and editor Calista Brill work the bookth while cartoonist Dave Roman is interviewed.

One of the newest, slickest releases from Top Shelf is Ed Piskor‘s Wizzywig, an online comic about a kid hacker. I remember reading Wizzywig in Ed’s three self-published perfect-bound softcovers so it pretty sweet to see it as one massive tome.

The only way I was able to run into Austin friend, Chris Roberson, was at his own MonkeyBrain happy hour. Since quitting the Big Two, Roberson has launched his own digital publishing company and become The Freelance Writer to Have. Here he’s talking to Game of Thrones calendar artist, John Picacio.

And the con would not be complete without making new friends! Fabio Moon has been a favorite cartoonist of mine and much mischief was had at the Tr!ckster events and Eisners with this gentleman.

Zack Carlson, writer of Destroy All Movies, showed us around San Diego quite a bit in a cool, big brother type way. He works at my favorite place in Austin, TX: Alamo Drafthouse!

Comics Bulletin journalists, Danny Djeljosevic and Morgan Davis, were at every party, bar and comics location I attended so they must be doing something right!

The next generation of cartoonists is knocking at the door, teen Natalia Hernandez is one of them. I was lucky enough to pick up “Return of Crystal Girl #3” while escorting Natalia and her dad, Gilbert Hernandez around.

My haul was small but AMAZING, including those 1980’s Amethyst Comics. I’ll be reading these books for the better part of a month! Thank to everyone who was sweet and didn’t step on my feet at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Jen Vaughn is cartoonist and cartoonist-wrangler, new to Seattle so please recommend good places to draw. She loves cons because she can hang out with journalists like this Chris Sims guy from Comics Alliance.


  1. “Top Shelf’s Nate Powell and director of marketing, Leigh Walton, ogle IDW’s King Aroo by Sergio Aragones.”

    Actually, that book is Sergio Aragones’s Groo, but the name is easily confused with Jack Kent’s classic funny comic strip King Aroo, which is also published by IDW, and features an intro by Sergio Aragones.

  2. Pretty fun pictures! Isn’t Nate Powell the nicest guy? I met him at SPX a few times and he was always incredibly friendly and excited to chat about comics, music, or whatever else came up.

  3. Thanks, Nat! I flubbed that one real good! Groo IMMEDIATELY went into a book to be shipped back to the office so our booth workers and flight attendants wouldn’t spill coffee or juice on in in a struggle to read it.

  4. This was great Jen, thanks!

    Have you read any of the new books yet? Can you make a recommendation for any that are “must reads” that I can pick up in Chicago in two weeks? Thanks again!

  5. Wow those One Piece statues are really ramping up the fanservice. Princess Shirahoshi sure wasn’t drawn with one of those in the comic.